By Jim Goodson

A proposal to build a new elementary school in Jacksonville ISD is expected to be recommended to the JISD school board Monday night.

The Citizens for Schools and Community Advancement has been studying ways to improve the district’s schools since January, 2007, when it was established by JISD school board members.

Last month CSCA members heard a report from JISD Budget and Finance Director Lindy Finley that hiring the additional staff and supplies needed to add a fifth elementary school to the district would require an additional $788,269.34 in operating funds for its first year. In subsequent years the costs would rise from that figure, Finley said May 17 during a CSCA meeting attended by three JISD board members.

Following a detailed description of line items in Jacksonville ISD’s $31,696,859 budget for 2006-2007, Finley noted that “for the Jacksonville ISD to consider adding an additional facility with sustaining costs of $788,269.34 it will need to postpone any teacher salary priorities until changes develop in the state funding structure and the new campus is established,” she said.

“Plus, the board will have recommend significant cuts to the existing budget, including but not limited to personnel,” Finley continued.

JISD school board president Dr. Larry Folden said the board’s first priority is to “establish a competitive salary schedule for our teachers. Taking care of our teachers is the number one priority of the board.”

In addition to conducting a bond election to raise the estimated $14 million to build a fifth elementary school, the board would have to call for a rollback election to raise the tax rate high enough to fund the staffing of such a school. Rollback elections are required if a school district wants to adopt a tax rate higher than the limits imposed by the Texas Legislature.

Jacksonville ISD’s current tax rate of $1.33 per $100 valuation would be “compressed” under House Bill 1’s revenue cap to $1.01 per $100 valuation - a move the Legislature has already adopted to offer tax relief to property owners.

Any increase over that would be subject to a rollback election.

The board is also expected to discuss a vacancy created by the resignation of former school board member Ann Chandler, accept a donation of $1,376 from the East Side PTO for reimbursement of student travel, consider a plan for JISD workers compensation self-insurance and convene in executive session for personnel matters, among 18 agenda items.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and a budget workshop is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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